Mythical Creatures Series
Seen as an omen of death, a banshee’s cries can be heard when someone is about to die, but her eyes are often red from all the weeping. After all, she can’t separate herself from all the death.
What is it?
The banshee comes from Irish mythology and is seen as an omen, a messenger from the underworld. She is considered a fairy, and will break into an uncontrollable wail, which can be heard at night and through the woods, if someone is about to die. Similar creatures are found in Scottish mythology – the bean sìth or bean-nighe is seen washing the blood stained clothes or armour of those who are about to die. Similar creatures are also found in Welsh, Norse and American folklore.
‘Traditionally when a person died, a woman would sing a lament at the funeral. These women are sometimes referred to as “keeners” and the best keeners would be in much demand. Legend has it that for five great Gaelic families — the O’Gradys, the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, and the Kavanaghs — the lament would be sung by a fairy woman; having foresight, she would sing the lament when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come, so that the wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death. In later versions, the banshee might appear before the death and warn the family by wailing. When several banshees appeared at once, it indicated the death of someone great or holy.’
It is said a banshee can take the form of a hare, crow or weasel – animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft. In some cases, she appears as a mist-like cloud.
Her screech is so terrible, it can shatter glass.
A banshee can take many guises, from a young beautiful woman wearing a gray or white hooded cloak, with long, fair hair, to a redhead, or a withering old hag. Others claim she’s a washwoman. I’m guessing this is open for creative imagination.
Banshees are said to often comb their hair with a silver comb, a detail also related to the centuries-old traditional romantic Irish story that, if you ever see a comb lying on the ground in Ireland, you must never pick it up, or the banshees (or mermaids — stories vary), having placed it there to lure unsuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away.
Appearances In Culture
The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent
The Dead is Series by Marlene Perez
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns movie
Scream of the Banshee movie
Did you know? Sightings of Banshees have been reported as recently as 1948.
Marchosias, Ningyo, Abatwa, Cait Sith, Anka, Huldra, iele, Manticore, Hantu Demon, Lich, Joan The Wad, Fomorian, Rakshasa, Hellhound, Sleipnir, Three-Legged Crow, Afanc, Tarasque, Echidna, Alkonost, Landvaettir, Hippocampus, Cockatrice, Shedu,Dryad, The Erlking, Oni, Rusalka, Salamande,Gulon, Krampus, Wendigo